As dog lover, many of us always want to train our dog to be the perfect companion that will behave himself always.
But to build a strong and trusting relationship with our dog is not always just about always putting up a training regime for our dog to follow. Our dog is a social animal that needs fun time too.
There are also many benefits when we engage our dogs in fun and healthy games during playtime like:
* It's a great vehicle to build strong and trusting relationship with our dog.
* In the process we also learn to communicate better with our dog.
* Remember that every dog owners who play with their dog, stay with their dogs!
* It keeps our dog away from boredom. Many dog problems like chewing on carpets, furniture, digging in the garden, etc are a direct result of dog getting bored.
* Playing is also a form of exercise to keep our dog fit, healthy and mentally stimulated.
In addition, any game that your dog likes can be used as a reward for his good behavior in your training session with him. For example, use a favorite game like tug or fetch to reward recalls and long stays!
However, it is very important to remember that dog is a pack animal and you must always establish your alpha position, ie you remain in control of your dog even in the midst of all the excitement that you and your dog have while playing together.
Here are four all-time favorite games that you can play with your dog:
Game #1: Treasure Hunt
* Put your dog on a "down-stay" position.
* Put treats (food or toy) in a variety of hiding places within his sight.
* He has to wait until all the hidings are done.
* Return to your dog and issue the command "GO!", and send him to run around and find each of the hidden treats.
* Repeat this activity by varying where you put the treat.
You can increase the difficulty like hiding the treat where he can't see, example behind a piece of furniture, etc.
This game is especially good for dogs that have begun to learn "stay" command.
Game #2: Hide and Seek
* Put your dog on a 'sit' or 'down' stay.
* Go and hide.
* When you are ready, call your dog.
* Be very excited when he finds you.
* You can make it more difficult by "hiding" behind doors, couches, etc. If he doesn't find you at first, call him again.
This is a good game for teaching and training your dog to wait until when he is called.
It is also a great game for kids to play with dogs, as long as we teach the kids NOT to encourage the dog to chase them.
Game #3: Clean Up Your Toys
- Get a box or bucket and collect a number of toys and other dog-safe items.
- Remember do not start with things that your dog likes to hoard or that you don't want them ever touching.
- Scatter the toys in a small pile on the floor.
- Through shaping and teasing, get your dog to pick up the items one at a time, and place them in your hand.
- Remember to reward each "gift" that he place in your hand with a food treat.
- Make it harder and harder to put stuff in your hand, while maintaining the fun of this "return for refund" game.
- Each item retrieved is dumped into the bucket again.
- Over time your dog may even learn to take the leap and start putting things directly into the bucket himself.
Game #4: The Shell Game
- You need 3 small, identical buckets approximately one gallon size, Kibble or doggie cookies, a leash and training collar
- Place your dog in a 'down-stay' position in the kitchen.
- Go to your living room and place the three buckets side-by-side, with the mouth on the ground (upside down).
- Leave about one foot of space between each bucket.
- Put a doggie-cookie under one of the buckets.
- Return to your dog and give him your "release" command, and walk him over to the buckets.
- Say, "Where's the cookie?" and encourage your dog to smell the buckets.
- When he gets excited about the bucket with the cookie under it, praise him lavishly.
- Then, kick the bucket over and let him get the cookie.
- Repeat this process by switching the bucket the cookie is hidden under.
Once your dog starts to get the hang of the game, you can add more complexity by spacing the buckets further apart or by adding more buckets.
A Happy Dog Lover and Owner